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An Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors

November 12, 2013 Comments off

An Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors
Source: National Governors Association

States have been essential to the progress the United States has made in using energy more efficiently, according to a new paper released by the National Governors Association (NGA).

Governors play a critical role in advancing energy efficiency and are supporting efforts to help consumers lower their energy costs, reduce state energy expenditures, defer the need for new power plant investments, strengthen system reliability and reduce environmental impacts.

An Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors describes successful actions governors have taken to further cost-effective energy efficiency. Governors have worked with legislators, regulators and others to advance energy efficiency in a variety of ways. Examples of recent state actions include:

  • Conducting energy planning to analyze potential energy savings and explore best practices;
  • Improving energy efficiency rules and standards for buildings and appliances;
  • Incentivizing spending by utilities to provide increased energy efficiency to homes, businesses and industries;
  • Supporting innovative financing and repayment mechanisms to encourage private sector investment;
  • Creating new efforts that use information technology to spur enhanced energy savings by consumers and businesses; and
  • Supporting research and development through partnerships with universities and the private sector to encourage the next generation of energy efficiency initiatives.
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A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade

November 10, 2013 Comments off

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade
Source: National Governors Association

Improving early literacy is essential to increasing high school graduation rates allowing students to be successful in postsecondary education and ensuring the prosperity of all Americans, according to a report released by the National Governors Association (NGA).

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade examines the gap between research and policy and describes the five policy actions that governors can take to ensure all children read at grade level by the end of third grade.

States can increase the number of children who are proficient in reading by third grade by including three major and widely embraced results of educational research in their efforts:

  • Differences in literacy and language development in early childhood can lead to achievement gaps as early as kindergarten;
  • Reading proficiency requires a focus on interrelated skills and knowledge taught over time; and
  • Parents, primary caregivers and teachers have the most influence on children’s language and literacy development.

State Clean Energy Actions: November 2012–June 2013 Update

October 29, 2013 Comments off

State Clean Energy Actions: November 2012–June 2013 Update
Source: National Governors Association

Governors continued to advance renewable energy, energy efficiency and other forms of clean energy during their 2013 state legislative sessions, according to a report released by the National Governors Association (NGA).

State Clean Energy Actions: November 2012–June 2013 Update covers the 55 states, commonwealths and territories and highlights nearly 350 actions governors took to support greater use of clean energy, often with the goal of spurring economic development, reducing energy costs to consumers or minimizing environmental impacts. Areas with the most activity included renewable portfolio standards, shale gas development, financial incentives, building codes and state building efficiency efforts.

The paper provides summary data and highlights recent state-level activity and cumulative data from 2008-2013 across seven categories:

  • clean electricity;
  • energy efficiency;
  • alternative fuels and vehicles;
  • lead-by-example initiatives;
  • clean energy economic development;
  • clean energy research, development and demonstration; and
  • greenhouse gas emissions.

NGA, NASBO Say Slow Economic Recovery Hinders States’ Fiscal Well-Being

June 14, 2013 Comments off

NGA, NASBO Say Slow Economic Recovery Hinders States’ Fiscal Well-Being
Source: National Governors Association/National Association of State Budget Officers

After several years of slow recovery, states are beginning to see some fiscal relief. However, the unemployment rate is still high and the economic recovery is weak compared to other post-recession recoveries, according to the The Fiscal Survey of States, released today by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).

Additionally, states are challenged with providing resources in critical areas that were cut during the recession, declining federal funds for state programs subject to sequestration and continued spending demands in areas directly affected by the sluggish economy such as Medicaid, higher education and corrections. Because of these challenges and other factors, most states plan to moderately increase spending in fiscal 2014.

Redesigning State Economic Development Agencies

October 30, 2012 Comments off

Redesigning State Economic Development Agencies (PDF)

Source: National Governors Association

Policies to boost innovation, competitiveness and job creation are top priorities for the nation’s governors. State economic development agencies play a large role in making and implementing those policies and, accordingly, how states will rebound from the recession that ended in 2009. State leaders seeking to lay the foundation for renewed economic prosperity should try to ensure that such agencies function as effectively and efficiently as possible, so that the economic recovery brings with it strong growth and high-paying jobs.

The fact that states are now facing daunting economic challenges makes it easier to muster broad support for transforming their economic development agencies. Governors have a unique opportunity to review the economic landscape and to propose critical changes that would not have been feasible in the past. Within the past two years, at least 12 states have created new entities focused on economic development or have consolidated existing agencies to streamline their approach to economic development.

NGA, NASBO Say States Facing ‘Big Squeeze’ According to Latest Fiscal Survey

November 30, 2011 Comments off

NGA, NASBO Say States Facing ‘Big Squeeze’ According to Latest Fiscal Survey

Source: National Governors Association

While the overall fiscal condition of states has improved from the depths of the recession, the Fall 2011 Fiscal Survey of States, released today by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), shows that states are facing a ‘big squeeze’ from both local and federal governments. The combination of the effects of the economic downturn, tepid economic growth and the expiration of Recovery Act and other federal funds has severely impeded the growth of state resources. Additionally, spending on Medicaid is expected to consume an increasing share of state budgets and grow much more rapidly than state revenue growth, resulting in slow or no growth in education, transportation or public safety.

Overall, state 2012 enacted budgets include nearly $667 billion in general fund expenditures, a 2.9 percent increase compared to $648 billion in general fund spending in 2011. Despite the second year with an increase, total enacted general fund spending in 2012 is still $21 billion less than the pre-recession high of $687 billion in 2008.

At the same time, local government revenues have been severely impacted by the decline in housing values. Many local governments, including school districts, rely heavily on property taxes to support their activities. These jurisdictions have been pressing states for more local assistance.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Governors Emphasize the Importance of Education for Economic Competitiveness

March 7, 2011 Comments off

Governors Emphasize the Importance of Education for Economic Competitiveness
Source: National Governors Association

The National Governors Association (NGA) 2011 Winter Meeting concluded today with a closing plenary session highlighting the importance of increasing college attainment rates for economic competitiveness as part of NGA Chair Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire’s initiative, Complete to Compete. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, joined governors to highlight options for boosting college attainment rates with existing resources.

“To ensure that our states and citizens are prepared to compete in the globalized economy, we must develop sound policies that enable more individuals to complete degrees and increase the efficiency of the institutions that educate them,” said Gov. Gregoire. “My initiative focuses on the urgent need to increase college completion and productivity in the United States. In the future, more than two-thirds of jobs will require an advanced degree – whether it is a degree from a two-year community college, four-year university, technical program or other credential. We need to put the right policies in place to meet this workforce demand.”

As part of Gov. Gregoire’s initiative, NGA released Improving Postsecondary Attainment Among Adults (PDF), a guide to help states get more of their adult citizens to and through college. This report offers states ideas that can be done without increasing costs, such as making sure that adult students have access to financial aid and providing programs and services that fit with their lifestyle.

At the NGA Annual Meeting last July, the association released Complete to Compete: Common College Completion Metrics (PDF), a set of common higher education completion and productivity measures that governors and higher education leaders can use to monitor state progress and compare performance to other states and between institutions.

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